Background: Scorpions are arachnids that have a generalist diet, which use venom to subdue their prey. The study of their trophic ecology and capture behavior is still limited compared to other organisms, and aspects such as trophic specialization in this group have been little explored. Methods: In order to determine the relationship between feeding behavior and venom toxicity in the scorpion species Tityus fuhrmanni, 33 specimens were offered prey with different morphologies and defense mechanisms: spiders, cockroaches and crickets. In each of the experiments we recorded the following aspects: acceptance rate, immobilization time and the number of capture attempts. The median lethal dose of T. fuhrmanni venom against the three different types of prey was also evaluated. Results: We found that this species does not have a marked difference in acceptance for any of the evaluated prey, but the number of capture attempts of spiders is higher when compared to the other types of prey. The immobilization time is shorter in spiders compared to other prey and the LD50 was higher for cockroaches. Conclusions: These results indicate that T. fuhrmanni is a scorpion with a generalist diet, has a venom with a different potency among prey and is capable of discriminating between prey types and employing distinct strategies to subdue them.
Keywords: Trophic ecology; 50% Lethal dose; Predatory behavior; Scorpions; Tityus.